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Fishing for post-holiday license gift
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Christmas is over and this is the first time in a long time that I didn’t receive my annual fishing license as a gift.

I only have myself to blame and my family’s first year adopting the Secret Santa gift exchange. On my list of possible gifts I left out the fishing license and opted for a gift card from one of my favorite tool stores. I got exactly what I wanted, which worked out great until I realized that I forgot to ask for a fishing license.

No big deal, I guess. Next year I’ll make sure to not make the same mistake. Either way, I’ve had a pretty good streak. It’s about time I buy my own license. I’m going to stretch this current one out to the very last day and probably won’t buy a new license until a little after New Year’s. I’m guessing it’s going to cost me between $40-50.

I can remember years ago when I was buying them, the price seemed to rise a couple of dollars each year. Don’t get me wrong, Secret Santa was a great idea and made things so much easier, especially the shopping part, just don’t forget about the fishing license.


Fishing for bass has been tough for a lot of anglers, as very few limits are being caught. Those targeting bass are fishing mainly with jigs and crawdad imitating baits. Fishing for stripers is tough, as very little schooling activity is being reported. Schools of striper are being found by anglers fishing Sycamore and Hog Slough.

Bluegill fishing continues to be good for anglers fishing around docks and marinas with wax worms.

Lake New Melones

Trout fishing is great. Anglers are still bringing in limits while fishing off the bank. Currently, the hot bait has been Power Bait. Trollers are catching fish up shallow but they have been a lot smaller than the ones caught off the bank. Because of this, a lot of boaters have chosen to drift live minnows under a bobber in the backs of coves in order to target the bigger trout. Angels Cove and Glory Hole Cove have been the hot areas for trout.

Bass fishing remains consistent as the bass have moved deeper. The bigger bass are being caught by swimbaits as they are definitely following the trout up shallow. For numbers try targeting points and backs of creeks with soft plastics and jigs.  

Lake Don Pedro

The trout bite is good for anglers fishing from the surface down to 25 feet deep. Anglers are targeting the bigger fish that are combing the bank while using side planers and trolling a variety of shad imitating lures.

Bass fishing has slowed, as anglers are struggling to find a consistent bite anywhere on the lake. There have been a few anglers that have been able to catch fish on spoons while searching for schooling fish.

Lake Camanche

Fishing for trout is very good both in the lake and in the pond. Anglers fishing for trout are doing well will fishing with Power Bait or casting various trout imitating lures along the bank.

Bass fishing has been steady for anglers fishing offshore structure. Locating schools of bass following schools of shad seems to be the key to catching them right now. Once the schools are found anglers are fishing with either spoons or a drop-shotted Robo Worm in a shad color.

Lake Amador

Heavy loads of trout are being planted into the lake on what seems like a daily basis. Anglers fishing off the bank are doing well while using Power Bait either fished off the bottom or beneath a bobber.

Tip of the Week

Many people are unaware of the money-saving possibilities that are available to them when it comes to purchasing their annual fishing license. I highly recommend going to the Department of Fish and Game’s website and researching the available discounts before going out and paying full price.

To contact Jarod Ballardo, email